PITTSFIELD — Education is in the bedrock at the corner of Elm Street and Livingston Avenue. It’s where Dawes Elementary School once stood (before it was razed in the early 1980s) and the very locale Jim Bronson chose for his burgeoning business. Since opening Your CBD Store last October, he’s made educating consumers his passion — especially when it comes to the benefits of cannabidiol products.
First lesson of the day? CBD and THC, while derived from the same plant, are entirely different entities. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in industrial hemp. Its use has been shown to combat a slew of symptoms — from pain to inflammation and myriad menaces in between — by imparting a feeling of relaxation and calm.
Unlike its cousin THC, short for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (the major active ingredient in marijuana), CBD is not psychoactive. In fact, it’s been proven safe and effective for individuals 18 years of age and older. In a society that’s grown increasingly dependent on popping pills for what ails you, CBD presents a refreshing alternative — no prescription needed.
“We are a specialty CBD store, that’s all we sell, and we are highly trained in what we are talking to guests and clients about,” Bronson explains with an emphasis on sharing his deep knowledge. Namely, CBD products won’t get you high.
Here’s the breakdown: full-spectrum products contain a trace amount of THC (less than 0.3%, minus the psychotropic effects) while broad-spectrum products are THC-free (thanks to an added extraction step).
“All of these products interact with our endocannabinoid system (which plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, appetite and memory, just to name a few) which can help bring an individual to stasis,” explains Bronson.
For individuals dealing with anxiety, pain, sleeplessness — even depression — CBD products can help to alleviate associated symptoms in a variety of ways. The best part? While CBD first gained popularity as a tincture (CBD suspended in medium-chain-triglyceride based coconut oil or other carrier agent), the options have exploded.
A variety of delivery methods — depending on your lifestyle and intended outcome — range from award-winning topical creams to treat arthritis, to water-soluble pills and vegan edibles (no gelatin in sight!) Need help deciding? Bronson will weigh in, noting speed of delivery and desired length of effects being the primary differentiators. While tinctures and edibles take longer to kick in, their effects ultimately last longer than a water-soluble pill or vape pen. Not keen on ingesting anything? Topical creams and roll-ons pack an equally powerful punch.
For most customers, curiosity leads the way. After learning hemp plants contain over 100 individual cannabinoids (and Your CBD Store’s proprietary extraction method retains as many of these as possible for the most botanical benefits), it’s on to individualized attention. Bronson meets customers who are somewhat aware of the benefits of using CBD, to very aware or not aware at all.
“We’re happy to help all levels of CBD users,” says Bronson, who typically spends 15-20 minutes educating a new client. That said, “we will always spend as much time as someone needs to ask questions and understand our products.”
Your CBD Store carries the full line of Sun Flora products, sourced from organic industrial hemp, grown in the United States, and produced in Florida. The company has a dedicated science department — under the leadership of Dr. Anthony Ferrari, chief science officer — who is responsible for each formulation (all of which are third party lab verified and labeled with QR codes for complete information at the consumer’s fingertips). This goes for every single product in the joint.
“Some are fairly typical, and others are rather extraordinary,” says Bronson, pointing to a new product line that demonstrates the company going above and beyond — quite literally. The ABOVE line, released in March, offers a cutting-edge new blend combining delta-8-THC with the robust cannabinoid profile of the full-spectrum extract to deliver a gentle body high. The BEYOND line, launched in mid-June, is unique to the CBD industry. These innovative products, the first of their kind on the market, use 400% more minor cannabinoids (plus an inverse extraction process) that allows users to achieve a heightened experience.
Bronson also details a pair of smokeable options, CBG and CBD/CBG flower, available as pre-rolls for ease of use and convenience. Which is not to cause confusion: “Even when smoking, you’re not ingesting the ‘get high’ stuff, you’re ingesting the ‘feel better’ stuff.”
Want to continue the learning curve? Your CBD Store has faithful companions covered, too. Think CBD-infused Pet Paw and Nose Balm, bacon-flavored tincture and peanut butter biscuits for pets who — whether during a thunderstorm or while spending the dog days of summer home alone — could use therapeutic support to combat stress, anxiety, and restlessness.
Yes, it’s true: CBD products seem to be available everywhere, from convenience store display cases to grocery store shelves. It’s a phenomenon Bronson happily equates with gas station sushi: Just because they are selling it, does not mean he’s buying it.
It’s really important — when shopping in person and online — to know what you’re buying. “The old adage, of getting what you pay for, is very much true with CBD,” Bronson explains. Which is where patronizing a dedicated CBD shop pays off, even if it feels overwhelming. (Bronson’s first visit to a dispensary, while in Colorado on a business trip, conjured feelings that his mother was watching, even though he was respectably dressed in a navy blue blazer at the time.)
“Somewhere along the way CBD got a bad rap, back in the day when it was grouped in with marijuana,” Bronson acknowledges. Then comes the refresher course: “It’s the same plant, but not the same production.”
Visiting Your CBD Store is an entirely different process than entering a marijuana dispensary, medical or recreational. Say goodbye to long lines, pre-ordering, cash-only sales and needing an ID. At the Elm Street Plaza, just show up and walk in (assuming you are 18 years old). It’s that easy. Credit cards are welcome, and one only pays sales tax (6.25% in Massachusetts as opposed to the whopping 20% at marijuana dispensaries).
Need another reason to swing by Elm Street (that doesn’t hinge on a nostalgic visit to the now defunct playground equipment)? Your CBD Store offers a terrific rewards program — including $10 off your first purchase, points that accrue with subsequent purchases, plus some money off on your birthday.
“We do lots of things to keep our pricing competitive with what you’d find online, but you have a much better product and someone to talk to,” Bronson says. Plus, he runs continuous discounts for first responders, active and veteran military personnel, and educators. “I always have a special discount each and every day for those people.” Yes, teachers, including you.